'I Miss Her Already': Profiles Of The Navy Yard Victims Emerge

Sep 17, 2013
Originally published on September 17, 2013 6:28 pm

This post was last updated at 4:40 p.m. ET.

The victims of the Navy Yard shootings that brought panic and tragedy to a corner of Washington, D.C., on Monday morning are in many people's thoughts as their names and other information are released. We'll collect what we know about the victims here.

The identities of the 13 people, including the gunman, who died and at least eight who were wounded are being released by officials as family members are informed of the victims' statuses. Police have now identified all of those who died in Monday's violence, including the alleged gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET: Complete List Of Those Killed

Shortly after noon Tuesday, Washington's Metropolitan Police Department issued the names of five victims who died in the attack and were not named in Monday night's news conference. We've updated our list below and will be adding more details about their lives as we learn them.

Our original post continues:

On Tuesday morning, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other officials held a wreath-laying ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial plaza to honor the victims of the attack, which occurred at around 8:20 a.m. in Building 197 of the Navy Yard, a popular morning spot with a breakfast cafeteria.

Several of those who were hurt or killed Monday had worked at the Navy Yard for decades. As of Tuesday afternoon, all 12 victims who died in the attack had been identified:

Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va., was a "wonderful person and a wonderful neighbor," a neighbor told The Washington Post. The woman was on her way to visit Arnold's wife.

A retired Navy officer who was working as a consultant on ship design, Arnold was also a pilot who was building his own airplane, his uncle, Steve Hunter, told The Associated Press in an interview from Rochester, Mich., where Arnold grew up.

"Arnold and his wife, Jolanda, had been married for more than 30 years," the AP reports, citing Hunter. "They had two grown sons, Eric and Christopher."

Martin Bodrog, 54, was a Navy veteran who lived in Annandale, Va. He is listed in a LinkedIn account as a senior analyst at T-MB — the Tech-Marine Business.

The company's staff includes many former military officers, according to its website. A listing of recent work includes service and support contracts with elements of the U.S. Navy, with several having a presence at the Navy Yard.

A photo provided by the family of Martin Bodrog, shows the 54-year-old man from Annandale, Va., who was one of 12 people killed in the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard Monday.
Courtesy of the Bodrog family / AP

Bodrog "had been married to his wife, Melanie, for 25 years," ABC reports. "The couple had three daughters, Isabel, 23, Sophie, 17, and Rita, 16."

He was a thoughtful neighbor who "taught Sunday school and was a die-hard Boston Bruins fan," says ABC, which received a copy of Bodrog's obituary.

Arthur Daniels, 51, of southeast Washington, D.C., saw the attack unfold Monday and attempted to get to safety, according to a witness. But he was shot in the back after waiting for an elevator door to open, reports The Post, citing a man who worked with Daniels.

Daniels had worked as a subcontractor, moving and installing furniture in government buildings; his job took him to the Navy Yard on Monday, The Post says, citing an interview with family members and others. The newspaper says Daniels had five children and nine grandchildren.

"I don't know why they shot him," Priscilla Daniels said of her husband. "He was a good father and hard worker."

Sylvia Frasier, 53, of Charles County, Md., worked in computer network security at the Naval Sea Systems Command. Word of her fate didn't reach some family members until just before 10 last night, The Post says.

Frasier's family, including her six siblings, tell the newspaper that they had been told earlier Monday that Sylvia had been hurt and was in the hospital. But they prepared themselves for the worst.

"No matter how we feel, no matter what information we get from the FBI, we have got to forgive," her sister Wendy Edmonds, 52, told other family members before they received the sad news. "We have to forgive. We can't become bitter."

Kathy Gaarde, 62, of Woodbridge, Va., was a financial analyst who a neighbor says may have been close to retiring; her husband retired from the Navy last year, the AP reports.

"Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends," her husband, Douglass Gaarde, wrote in an email to the news agency. "We were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters. It hasn't fully sunk in yet but I know I already dearly miss her."

A neighbor, Patrick Bolton, tells The Post that Gaarde "was just the kindest lady in the world." He added, "I'm not even exaggerating. I've never seen her do anything but nice things for people."

John Roger Johnson, 73, was a longtime resident of Derwood, Md., who loved kids, a neighbor tells The Post.

A friend and former co-worker, William Venable, tells NPR's Hansi Lo Wang that Johnson, or J.J., was his colleague in the IT department, doing things like distributing cellphones and wireless cards. The job could be tedious — but every day, Venable says, Johnson greeted him with the same enthusiasm.

Kathy Gaarde, one of the people killed in Monday's shootings at Washington's Navy Yard, in a family photo. Her husband, Douglass, says the picture depicts Gaarde "with her 94-year-old mother who she cared for until she passed away last year."
Douglass Gaarde

"His greeting to me — every day, religiously — was, 'How ya doin' buddy?!' "

"I'm a 20-something-year-old black man, and he's a 70-plus-year-old white guy," Venable says. "You know, we had zero in common. But we had great conversations, and he was a great spirit; it was a spirit that you could connect with. He was one of my best friends in that place."

Frank Kohler, 50, of St. Mary's County, Md., also died in Monday's attack. He lived in Tall Timbers, where his two daughters graduated from Kings Christian Academy, reports The Baynet.com.

This afternoon, the news site reported that Kohler's neighbor, Merl Evans, "said the family had a tough time of it in recent years, including their house burning down in a gas explosion. They lost everything, but rebuilt, Evans said."

Kohler is described as having been active in the Rotary Club, "and will be especially missed at the organization's upcoming St. Mary's County Oyster Festival. He was president of the organization in 2005 and was the festival's King Oyster the following year."

The Baynet.com says that Kohler was an engineer who previously worked for Lockheed Martin; his purpose at the Navy Yard Monday has not been reported.

Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Va., was a deputy chief information officer at Naval Sea Systems Command who specialized in cybersecurity, according to a LinkedIn profile under her name.

She also taught at Northern Virginia Community College, where a spokeswoman tells ABC News that Knight was slated to teach computer courses this fall.

Vishnu Pandit, 61, had lived in North Potomac, Md., for at least 20 years, The Post reports. A neighbor tells the newspaper they saw many cars arrive at the Pandit family's house late Monday. Another neighbor, Mike Honig, described Pandit as "a very nice man with an Irish setter."

After immigrating to the United States from India in the 1970s, Pandit obtained degrees in marine engineering, according to Huffington Post.

The site spoke to M. Nuns Jain, a colleague of Pandit's who was at the family's home this week.

"He definitely lived the American Dream and achieved it," Jain said. "It's disheartening that the one flaw in the American system is the uncontrollable proliferation of guns."

Frank Kohler, 50, is seen in a photo provided by his family. Kohler, of Tall Timbers, Md., was one of 12 victims killed in the shooting rampage at Washington's Navy Yard Monday.
Courtesy of Rotary Club of Lexington Park / AP

Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46, Waldorf, Md., was a civilian utilities foreman who had worked for the government for 22 years, his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor, tells the AP. He was, she says, "a very loving, caring, gentle person. His kids cfmeant a lot to him."

The couple have two teenage sons — one is 15; the other is in basic training after enlisting in the Army.

Evelyn Proctor says her ex-husband didn't work in Building 197, but had gone there for his usual breakfast. She said they had talked on the phone Monday morning, and she learned of his death Monday evening.

"We were still very close. It wasn't a bitter divorce," she said. The pair had dated as far back as high school. "We still talked every day, and we lived 10 minutes away from each other."

Gerald L. Read, 58, of Alexandria, Va., had worked as an information assurance specialist at Naval Sea Systems Command in the Navy Yard, a post he held for the past 12 years, according to a LinkedIn account in his name.

Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Md., was a father who worked as a security guard at the Navy Yard, according to the Carroll County Times.

A retired Maryland state trooper, Ridgell helped coach a Jaycees Girls Softball team. According to the newspaper, Ridgell's daughters played for the team.

"Mike was the kind of guy that you would want your daughter to be coached by," says Tom Whitcomb, a coach for the team who knew Ridgell for about 10 years. "He was always positive. He was always encouraging."

Of at least eight people who were wounded Monday, three were shot and the rest reportedly suffered other injuries.

Police officer Scott Williams underwent surgery after suffering gunshot wounds to his legs. D.C. officials said he is recovering and talkative. At a news conference Monday night, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she and Williams entered the police force around the same time, and that he has "a stellar record."

And it seems that Mr. Williams is also a man with priorities.

"The police officer when he came in ... he was most concerned about being able to talk to his mother," Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer at Washington Hospital Center, tells NPR member station WAMU. Williams "wanted to make sure that he was able to speak to her before he went into surgery. You know ... you always have to take care of Mom," she said.

Williams and two civilians, both women, were all able to talk with medical and police staff and are expected to recover, Orlowski says. One of the women had surgery for a wound to her shoulder; the other did not need surgery, despite a wound to her head.

"She's a very, very lucky young lady," Orlowski says. "She had an injury to her hand and her head. But the bullet did not actually penetrate the skull. It did not penetrate the bone."

The Navy says it is providing counseling and other services to employees and family members at Joint Base Anacostia-Bowling. The service asks those who need help or information to call 1-855-677-1755. People can also call 1-800-222-0364 for counseling, the Navy says.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.